Fewer cars were buying cars in 2020 than usual, but some of the world’s leading automakers have weathered the pandemic year surprisingly well.

Motorists in the United States, as they have done annually for nearly four decades, bought more Ford F-Series trucks than any other type of car. Those in countries like Argentina and Australia preferred Toyota pickups, and Swiss drivers usually opted for a midsize sedan from the Czech brand Skoda. All of this comes from data from the BestSellingCarsBlog.com website, which has analyzed the car brands that have topped the sales charts in various countries around the world over the past year.

Toyota led all other car brands in the world in 2020, overtaking Volkswagen to regain the title of best-selling car brand in the world for the first time in five years. Toyota sold more than 9.5 million vehicles in 2020, 11.3% fewer than in 2019 – but a less steep decline than Volkswagen’s 15% decline to 9.3 million cars sold in 2020.

Toyota also sold the most cars in the world in 44 different countries around the world, according to data compiled by BestSellingCarsBlog.com’s AutomotiveTouchup website. Volkswagen again took second place and topped the ranking in 14 countries.

The Toyota Truck with global reach

While the long-popular Corolla sedan (more than 1.1 million cars sold in 2020) and the compact SUV Rav4 (995,000 cars sold) were the two best-selling single cars in the world in 2020, a surprising Toyota vehicle made it to the top of the country census this year.

The Spaniard Fernando Alonso drives his Toyota Hilux during qualifying for the Lichtenburg 400.


That would be the Toyota Hilux, a midsize pickup truck that is sold in numerous markets around the world. Often used in off-road racing competitions like the Dakar Rally in Senegal, the truck starts at around $ 23,500 ⁠ – and was the top-selling vehicle in 14 countries in 2020, including Argentina, Australia, Panama, South Africa and Fiji. The Hilux has not been available in the US since the 1990s when Toyota first introduced its Tacoma pickup, but it has a reputation for being virtually indestructible (Toyota calls it the “toughest pickup in the world”).

Another surprise for some American drivers: the Skoda Octavia is one of the most popular cars in the world, although it is not available in the US either. It is available across most of Europe at a base price of almost $ 25,000 and was the best-selling car in 2020 in six countries including Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Overall, Toyota and Volkswagen dominated the global rankings. The Toyota Corolla was the best-selling car in six different countries including Ireland, Finland and Taiwan. The Rav4 was the best-selling car in five different countries including Estonia, Iceland and Ukraine. Drivers in six other countries, including Bahrain and Yemen, preferred Toyota’s Land Cruiser SUVs.

In comparison, Volkswagen-owned brands were the most popular cars in 14 countries, including Germany (the VW Golf), Norway (Audi’s electric SUV E-Tron), and the Netherlands (VW’s electric hatchback ID.3).

A Lada Granta car at the unveiling of the new Lada Granta X-Style series cars, Vesta Cross, XRAY Cross and Vesta Sport, at the 2018 Moscow International Motor Show at the Crocus Expo Exhibition Center.

Stanislav Krasilnikov | TASS | Getty Images

Local flavors in larger countries

Local automakers ruled many of the world’s largest countries. Ford’s F-Series trucks, including the F-150, led the North American market even during the pandemic: sales in the US fell more than 12% in 2020, but trucks still sold better than any other Vehicle model in the US and Canada last year.

Ford Motor Company is unveiling its new electric F-150 Lightning outside of their Dearborn, Michigan headquarters on May 19, 2021.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

Now Ford is counting on its long-standing success to penetrate the emerging market for electric vehicles at full speed. In May, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company unveiled its all-electric version of the F-150 truck, at a time when many of the world’s largest automakers are accelerating toward a future with more electric vehicles on the market.

In Russia, the best-selling car of 2020 was the Lada Granta, a small car made by the Russian company Avtovaz (formerly known as the Volga) and the French Renault Group. The Lada Granta is a remarkably affordable car that only costs nearly $ 7,000. Meanwhile, India’s best-selling car was the Maruti Swift, a similarly affordable hatchback small car that starts at around $ 7,800. It is made by an Indian subsidiary of the Japanese Suzuki Motor Corp.

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